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Queens Chronicle

Report card time for NY City Council

NY League of Conservation Voters weigh environmental priorities

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Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:56 pm, Thu Apr 19, 2012.

The release of the Environmental Scorecard of the City Council shows that all five boroughs are heading in the right direction to sustain the environment in New York City.

Out of the 50 City Council members from each district in the five boroughs, and from both political parties that voted, 22 had a perfect score on the scale from one to 100 for voting in support of the 11 bills covering various environmental issues that the city faces now, and in the future.

With an average score of 90 given by The New York League of Conservation Voters, the council has climbed 22 points from the previous Environmental Scorecard that was covered in 2008 and 2009.

The NYLCV is a nonpartisan policy-making and political action organization whose main goal is to keep the environment at the top of priorities for elected officials and voters.

The NYLCV’s president, Marcia Bystryn, said that this is one of the most pro-environment council’s that has ever served New York.

“Our Environmental Scorecard reflects the strong environmental learnings of our individual council members,” Bystryn said.

Topics voted on included sustainable food, waste reduction, solar energy, clean air, indoor air, lighting efficiency, clean waterways, illegal dumping and safe streets.

They also voted on “green infrastructure,” which will increase the planting of stormwater-tolerant native vegetation in order to regulate stormwater retention and filtration, and “green buildings” which require particular codes on commercial and residential building construction.

Of these topics, 22 council members scored 100 percent, while 15 scored 91 percent, and the remaining 13 council members’ scores declined from there.

Queens’ council members that were given the score of 100 were Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens), Jim Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Long Island City), Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village).

From there, council members that received a 91 were Dan Halloran (R-Bayside), Peter Koo (D-Flushing), Julissa Ferrerras (D-Corona), Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) and Leroy Comrie Jr. (D-St. Albans).

Council members Ruben Wills (D-Jamaica) and James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) scored a 73.

Bart Haggerty, the chief of staff for City Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park), said that their office is particularly proud of Ulrich’s 100-point voting status.

“We were the principal sponsors for the ‘green building’ initiative,” Haggerty said. “It’s common sense to update the laws of major construction.”

Ambition of this sort is what also inspired City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan) to introduce legislation for public recycling and textile recycling.

Michelle Feldman, Lappin’s press secretary said, “She is working on creating legislation that heightens the importance of waste reduction. We want to make recycling more accessible to the people of New York.”

Christine Quinn, the City Council speaker, is credited by the NYLCV for leading the council into passing 29 of the 111 recommendations, primarily for creating green buildings legislation that has been proposed over the last two years.

From this legislation, Urban Green, a campaign with the goal of becoming the leaders of the advancement of sustainability in urban buildings through education, advocacy and research, has estimated that the votes will result in saving 30 billion gallons of water through better plumbing regulations, save $400 million in overall energy costs and other environmental benefits by 2030.

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